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Teacher Experiences

Marianne K – French Teacher – My Online Schooling 

Teaching a language online is obviously quite different from classroom teaching, although many of the same materials from the classroom can be adapted for online teaching.

I find that presenting a new idea still works well using powerpoints and a variety of matching games and “who wants to be a millionaire” or “Blockbusters” style games of which there are plenty on Zut.org.uk and Teachit.French. Unlike classroom teaching where you might only include one of these games in the lesson and the onus would be to write down new vocab and grammar rules into books; I include plenty of games to keep students’ interest. The language rules and exercises are all available on class pages along with the recorded lesson, so it’s not so necessary to physically write it all down, although I do encourage some hand-written work because I believe that making the shapes of words rather than typing helps it to stick in the memory.

Reinforcing new grammar and expanding new vocabulary is sometimes more difficult because students tend to start self-selecting after the preliminary stage. Some seem to decide/imagine that they’ve really assimilated the new idea because I’ve already presented it and check out during the lesson. This can make some lessons very slow and painful if students are disengaged and unwilling to go that further step out of their comfort zone and beyond the vocab and grammar building games to using the new language to express their own ideas.

I’m finding that use of online videos such as the BBC selection of class clips which are presented in English in the ‘vlogger’ style to play competitive games in the target language (in this case French) are really motivating and help me to demonstrate how language is applied as they present life like scenarios. I only wish there were more of these and that they were available in other parts of the world – not all of my students can access them and playing them on the screen can prove laggy.

Peer to peer work via the breakout rooms is also motivating as students tend to want to interact with each other, understandably and so I use this to my advantage – only allowing them to break out rooms when I’m happy that they have understood the concept and instructions they need to carry out the roleplay or language game.

Generally this method is proving successful and I’m finding that as the teacher – student relationship grows that online teaching is more rewarding in some ways than classroom teaching. Disruptions can be dealt with quickly and support from the management team is swift and friendly.

I feel supported and trusted to manage students learning in this new way and I’m enjoying seeing my students grow in confidence and ability.

Victoria D – History Teacher, My Online Schooling 

I have been working as an online teacher for just over a year. I find that working online offers all the traditional features of a physical classroom, including the use of shared whiteboards, video’s tasks and activities which are planned and delivered in exactly the same way as a traditional classroom. Shared resources are easy to upload, and the children have no issues engaging and using the technology available. The use of break out rooms allow the children to work collaboratively, even though they are all situated in different places throughout the world. It always amazes me how children from all corners of the globe can work together. This in itself offers the children the opportunity to learn about different cultures and perspectives. Information is delivered verbally and usually with the use of a presentation, videos and/or games.

In history we access classtools.net which offers us the opportunity to create learning content in a fun and engaging way. Recently, year 10 children made revision resources in the form of an arcade game, the children added in their own questions using the information we have learned so far, and then we were able to swap these games with their classmates to play. All of the children showed huge enthusiasm and we had real fun doing this. The, ‘leader board’ allows the teacher to use the scores as an assessment method and everyone was striving to be at the top! Year 8 have also made good use of the ‘fake book’ activity where we all made a fakebook page for William Wilberforce, again the children were enthusiastic, and everyone was engaged

Being an online teacher far outweighs the experiences I have had teaching in a traditional school. Online learning offers the children the opportunity to have great fun whilst learning essential skills and information.